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Too much booze?

(72 Posts)
TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 14:41:07

Regular poster, name changed to protect the guilty, blah blah blah.

Dh has always liked a drink, and usually has something like half a bottle of wine three nights a week, plus the odd couple of pints of beer, or a couple of whiskies. I guess his usual consumption would be about 15 - 16 units a week.

Over the past couple of months he has been drinking every night, usually at least half a bottle of wine. So he's drinking more like 20 - 25 units a week. I've suggested (nicely!) that he might consider having a couple of nights off and he agrees, but hasn't actually done so yet.

Apart from his health there's the question of money. We're not broke, but our financial situation changed a few weeks back and we're having to tighten our belts a bit. Nothing too much, nothing to get stressed about, but four bottles of wine a week adds up. I'm having to watch what I spend, and have had to give up my once-a-week latte and muffin, but it seems that the booze doesn't come into that category. He does all the shopping and the wine has almost become a staple.

Putting aside the financial stuff though, would you be worried if your dh was drinking so much? It hasn't affected his behaviour or anything, but it's starting to worry me. How much is too much?

claricebeansmum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:44:00

This would worry me. IMO this is quite alot of alcohol to be consuming continuously - week in,week out.

The worry for me would be the inability not to have a drink. The need for a drink is when the alarm bells really sound.

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 14:49:32

Up until now he's always been able to do without a drink; it seems at the moment that he's just chosing not to do without one. I'm not sure that he's unable to do without one at the moment but my worry is that if he carries on like this, that will change and that need to drink will be there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Sep-07 14:51:27

It would certainly concern me and if you have children they're seeing all this as well.

Do you yourself think he is an alcoholic?.

It certainly sounds like he has an alcohol dependency. I see as well that you've talked to him about cutting down but he has not done so yet. It may be that he is incapable of cutting down, at least without proper medical supervision.

Does he think he has a problem with alcohol or is he in denial of his drinking?.

I sincerely feel you need to talk with someone like Al-anon as they can give advice and support to family members. Its affecting your day to day life as well as his.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Sep-07 14:53:59

Drinkline - National Alcohol Helpline

Helpline: 0800 917 8282 Monday - Friday, 9am - 11pm , Weekends 6pm - 11pm
Offers help to callers worried about their own drinking and support to the family and friends of people who are drinking. Advice to callers on where to go for help.
Alcoholics Anonymous

PO Box 1, 10 Toft Green, York, YO1 7ND
Helpline: 0845 769 7555 Web:
There are over 3000 meetings held in the UK each week with over 40,000 members. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
AL-Anon Family Groups

61 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YF
Tel: 020 7403 0888 Web:
Offers support for families and friends of alcoholics whether the drinker is still drinking or not.

claricebeansmum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:55:46

The danger is when it becomes habit - like all habits it can be really hard to break.

But I still think that he is drinking far too much - and why is he drinking so much? Can you get him to have a night off by doing something that does not involve drinking - go to the cinema or something?

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 14:58:32

We have a six year old. She's not seeing any of this as he only drinks after she's gone to bed. He doesn't get drunk, and he doesn't have hangovers so she's not affected by it in that way, and it hasn't changed his behaviour towards either of us.

I don't know whether he's an alcoholic. I've never thought so, because he has never had any problems with not drinking before. I think, though, that he is probably on his way towards a drink problem if he doesn't do something now. I think he's probably in denial about how much he's drinking, although he has agreed with me that it's been too much over the past few weeks.

Thank you for those numbers, although my heart is sinking looking at them and thinking that we may have to use them. I know it's stupid but I half hoped that people would say "It's a lot but it's not too much", you know?

My sister is an alcoholic, and he is nothing like her in the way he drinks.

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 15:01:08

Would love to go out to the cinema or something, but babysitters aren't exactly crawling out of the woodwork. Neither of our families live near us, and I don't really have any friends who I can call upon.

I don't know why he's drinking so much more these days - I am still hoping that it's just become a habit and it's still early enough to break that habit.

I will have to speak to him again, see what his reaction is this time. I haven't told him yet that this is worrying me but I think I will have to.

LyraBelacqua Wed 12-Sep-07 15:02:40

To be honest his drinking doesn't sound excessive to me. Half a bottle a night won't make him an alcoholic. Some people just like to reward themselves with a drink or two at the end of the day. And half a bottle amounts to, what, two glasses?
I really wouldn't worry about it if i were you.

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 15:04:39

It's more like three, sometimes four glasses a night, Lyra.

And I am worried.

I have to go and pick dd up from school now, but thank you for your thoughts so far.

LyraBelacqua Wed 12-Sep-07 15:06:16

I still think he'd have to be drinking way more than this for you to be thinking he's an alcoholic.

Cappuccino Wed 12-Sep-07 15:08:46

half a bottle a night isn't going to make him evil alcoholic dad imo it's important to retain perspective

it doesn't sound like a lot to me in terms of units; it might be to others tho. 21 units is the recommended for men so he's only just above that - it would be better if he could have one night off, that would bring him under probably

if it is about money resentment & he is going to buy alcohol at the supermarket then you should have your coffee and muffin, it's not fair for you to deny yourself your treats if he is not denying himself

if he is the only one drinking, halve the amount he spends on booze shopping, give half to him and half to you, to spend as you like

is his drinking affecting what he is doing in an evening? the only reason I would get overly concerned about it would be if he was becoming withdrawn, not participating in family life, pouring wine and ignoring you and house, etc etc

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 16:13:39

No, I realise that half a bottle a night isn't going to turn him into a raging alcoholic. My concern is that this is a change in his drinking habits, and it has been a big enough change for it to start to worry me. As I said, my sister is an alcoholic and her drinking is very different to my husbands; however, her drinking problem started with just drinking a little bit too much sometimes. Maybe the fact that she is an alcoholic, and having seen the devastation which that has caused her family, has made me a bit too twitchy about dh's drinking, I don't know.

I don't resent the money being spent on the wine, or the fact that he doesn't seem to want to cut out his treats where I have had to cut out mine. As Lyra said, some people just enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings and I have no desire to rob him of that. I am concerned for his health, the financial part comes as secondary. Yes, it would help us financially if he wasn't buying four or five bottles of wine a week, but that's not my biggest concern. That stems from the fact that, even though he has promised to cut down, he either does not want to, or is unable to, do that. I love my husband very much, and I don't want to see him throw his life and career down the toilet in the way my sister has done.

I don't drink at all, so don't really know what's excessive or not because it's just something I've never done. As for drinking affecting what we do in the evening ... well, yes, I suppose it does. Once he's had a drink he doesn't really want to do much in the evening, so he's not doing much around the house - just flakes out on the sofa with a book or in front of the telly. He's still active in that he rides his bike three or four nights a week while I'm putting dd to bed, but once he's back in he's pretty much inactive.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Sep-07 16:39:33

You've also written that he's always liked a drink. That in itself is not a problem; a lot of people like alcohol. The problems re this arise when it starts to go out of control and drinking problems can be insidious in their onset. You may have to face the fact that he has a drinking problem or at the least is becoming increasingly alcohol dependent.

If you are worried and I think you are right to be concerned as it is starting to impact on you and him, then do call one of the helplines I've posted up. You need support for your own self.

Your six year old DD may not see his drinking behaviour directly but your anxieties re your DH's drinking may be passed on to her. She will see you're not happy. This is why I'm saying it does not only affect him.

Has he expressed proper concern to you about his drinking, what has caused this to arise now, what are the triggers for this?. Is he for instance reacting to work pressures or changing financial circumstances?. Some people do use drink as an escape route. Address those issues head on with him and do seek extra support for your own self.

As you no doubt painfully aware you cannot make a person give up alcohol if they are dependent on it, they have to want to do it for their own selves.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Sep-07 16:42:23


Some more information for you:-

Current UK guidelines recommend that men don't drink more than three or four units of alcohol a day, and that women limit their intake to two or three units a day. You shouldn't save up units through the week and use them to binge at the weekend, and at least one day a week should be alcohol-free.

If you do have an episode of heavy drinking, as a short term measure, you shouldn't drink alcohol for 48 hours.
Strength and units

One unit is 8 grams, or about 10ml, of pure alcohol - regardless of how diluted it is. Below is a list of some common drinks and how many units they have in them.

* One pint of strong lager (alcohol 5% vol) = 3 units
* One pint of standard strength lager (alcohol 3 - 3.5% vol) = 2 units
* One 275ml bottle of an alcopop (alcohol 5.5% vol) = 1.5 units
* One standard (175ml) glass of wine (alcohol 12% vol) = 2 units
* One measure (25ml) of a spirit strength drink = 1 unit

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 16:54:26

Attila, he hasn't expressed any concerns about it to me at all. As far as I am aware, he doesn't have any. He acknowledges that he's probably drinking a bit more than he should but that's as far as it's gone. I know I need to talk to him about it but I suspect he will brush it off. I don't think he can see that there has been a change in his drinking habits, whereas I can.

I don't know what the triggers are. He's enjoying his work at the moment; he has a reasonably stressful job but at the moment it's going well, he's where he wants to be, he is getting acknowledgement from his company that he is good at his job. Maybe it's the financial stuff, but he is well paid and we will manage with just a bit of belt-tightening. It's hopefully just a temporary thing and he is aware of that.

I promise you that this is completely transparent to my daughter, and I will do everything in my power to ensure it remains that way. It has only recently dawned on me that his drinking has changed and as such my anxieties are very new - and I am doing my utmost to keep them from her. Dh and I have a good relationship, nothing has changed from that point of view so at the moment nothing is impacting on her at all.

Looking at your figures my heart is sinking again! If a standard glass of wine is 2 units then I am underestimating how many units he's having. He's definitely having more than 2 units a day - he's having at least 6 if not more.

I am going to talk to him tonight, see what his response to having some booze-free nights is going to be.

Thank you.

curiouscat Wed 12-Sep-07 17:03:10

Good luck TMB. I know it's a minefield and hard not to come across as a killjoy too.

My dh is very defensive about his drinking and like you I worry about it. I worry about being left a widow and that sort of thing. Also dislike the lack of energy brought on by a glass or two of wine.

I'm sure it'll work out for you if he's sympathetic to your concerns. Oh and get yourself and extra large muffin and latte and relax

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Sep-07 17:07:08


I wish you luck talking to him (these issues certainly needs to be talked about) but it does also sound like he's in denial as to the extent of his drinking. Denial (his) of the problem and issues with alcohol dependency can go hand in hand.

If you get nowhere with your DH I would call Al-anon and just have a chat or read their website. I think you need to talk with someone like them, they can help you. You need professional support for your own self.

IdreamofClooney Wed 12-Sep-07 17:09:55


Good luck broaching the issue with your DH.

I think that drinking everyday is a dependency on alcohol and the amounts consumed can easiely escalate.

My Ex was a heavy drinker and was definitely dependant on alcohol. It is one of the underlying reasons I left him - drinking became more important to him than his relationship with me or to family life.

I don;t know what your DH's job is. Ex works in a restuarant where drinking is part of the culture.

He used to drink after work and on nights off used to drink four beers plus a bottle of wine and NEVER has alcohol free days.

I would suggest to your DH that a few days a week with no wine would mean he would enjoy it more on the days that he treats himself (that is how I drink now I am on my own - I look forward to the coupleof nights I have a couple of glasses of wine and is great as I can actually have a couple of glasses - when Ex and I were together I rarely got a whole glass!)

Good luck!

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 17:10:54

Oh yes, I think I definitely come across as a kill-joy! Especially as I don't drink.

He is a good man, and I really hope that he will understand my concerns - and understand that my concerns are because I care, not because I don't want him to have a drink.

He has always been one to bury his head in the sand, though, and although he says he takes things on board, sometimes I think he just brushes them under the carpet. Hopefully he will listen to my concerns and really take them in.

Not sure I can afford an extra-large muffin and latte with the 36p I have in my purse ... and I'm not sure my waistline will thank me for it either (which might be one benefit of having to pull our horns in!!).

Thank you.

pageturner Wed 12-Sep-07 17:35:46

Just another thought about units of alcohol in wine: Attila's figures relate to a bottle of wine at 12% but many wines are higher than this and it makes a big difference. A rather nice bottle of Chateauneuf de Pape is 14% alcohol which is 10.5 units. Four of these a week make 42 units, five is ove 52. An ordinary bottle of Cote de Rhone is 13.5% which works out at 10.1 units. Sorry, I know those figures are a bit scary.

TooManyBottles Wed 12-Sep-07 17:44:29

Yes, they are - very scary.

But if he has a problem then it's better to have the whole picture and know exactly what we are dealing with.

Thank you all.

pageturner Wed 12-Sep-07 17:54:54

Good luck with it TMB.

curiouscat Thu 13-Sep-07 12:13:35

TMB, I just had another thought. When I confront my dh about his volume or frequency of drinking he doesn't see any problem. Accuses me of exaggerating the situation etc.

But we go over it so often that he is coming round to seeing that while it is (in his view) not a problem for him it certainly is for me. Being a loving dh etc this means he will listen to me.

Don't want to go into the denial/therapy lingo here. But in my view, like sexism or racism etc, it's up the the person affected by a dp's drinking to decide if it's a problem for herself. This in itself deserves respect even if the drinker doesn't believe they have a problem themselves.

If I am offended by a sexist remark that's up to me to decide, not the person who said it. Equally if I think my dp drinks too much it's a problem for me which is valid for discussion.

I hope this makes sense, and that you feel it's ok to talk about it all. Best wishes.

WigWamBam Thu 13-Sep-07 12:28:35

TMB is me. I changed my name because dh sometimes reads, but actually, it won't do him any harm to read this thread. Plus I can't be doing with hiding.

I get exactly what you're saying, CC. It is definitely a valid topic for discussion as it's impacting on me as well as on him.

I spoke to him last night and he agreed (again) that he's probably drinking too much, and although he accepts that I'm worried he denies there's anything to be worried about. I have asked him to have at least two nights a week where he doesn't drink at all, and to cut down a bit on the nights he does have a drink. He agreed. And then said that he would just finish the bottle he'd started the night before first.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

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